Parents demand online safety for remote learning

With more and more children studying remotely, parents are increasingly worried about their digital wellness - and calling for schools to take more responsibility.

With New South Wales in its second month of lockdown, and Victoria and the ACT at the start of a two-week extension, parents are expressing alarm about the impact on their children’s health and well-being.

Their digital health and well-being is a major concern.

A new study that surveyed over 1,000 adults has found that over three-quarters (76%) of parents want online safety to have a permanent place in the curriculum.

Less than one in ten believe teaching about digital safety and wellness is strictly a private responsibility.

The vast majority of parents believe that distance learning puts their children at increased risk.

Yet 28% of parents are taking matters into their own hands as well. They told researchers they are making an effort to educate themselves and their families about staying safe online, and are increasingly providing at-home cyber safety tools.

The vast majority of parents believe that distance learning puts their children at increased risk. The dangers they worry about most include exposure to scams (72%), privacy concerns (70%), misinformation (68%), illegal content (63%) and cyberbullying (61%). 

“We need to accept that remote schooling may be required in Australia for some time yet,” says Jordana Hunter, Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute.

Hunter and other educators are calling for “a more systematic approach to raising the quality of remote schooling.” 

shutterstock_1707724354The evidence shows that providing  high-quality cyber safety education for all children needs to be a part of that approach.

The shift to online learning at the start of the pandemic highlighted risks from Zoom’s handling of children’s personal information without consent, creating opportunities for “spam, scams, fraud, unwanted contact or even identity theft,” according to the eSafey Commissioner. 

A poll published by The Guardian this week shows that two-thirds of parents are concerned that lockdowns are impacting their kids’ mental health.

Seven in ten parents worry about children’s opportunities for socialising, and 61% fear their kids are falling behind academically. Seventy-six percent, according to another large-scale study, are worried about their kids’ safety while distance learning.

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Topics: Cyber Bullying, Parental Controls, Screen time, Mobile Apps, Excessive Device Usage, school performance, remote learning, classroom technology

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